• Bio-medical waste rules all over state
  • Implement norms to check noise pollution
  • Groundwater level dips at alarming rate

  • Bio-medical waste rules all over state

    The Indian Express [DECEMBER 16, 2002]

    Pune, December 15: From December 30, the Bio-Medical Waste (handling and disposal) rules will be applicable to all parts of Maharashtra. So far, only cities like Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur among others, implemented the rules for disposal of medical waste.

    The Bombay Nursing Home Registration Act, so far applicable to Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur and Kolhapur would be renamed as Maharashtra Clinical Establishment Act and would include the registration of hospitals, blood banks and dispensaries. This bill is likely to be passed by the forthcoming session of the parliament, said Dr Devendra Shirole, vice-president of Pune branch of the Indian Medical Association on Sunday.

    He was speaking to medical practitioners present at a day-long seminar about the rules at the seminar on medical profession and law organised by the Indian Medical Association (IMA) and National Institute of Ophthalmology at S M Joshi Hal on Sunday.

    Some doctors raised the issue of an alternative to incineration as a means of disposal of bio-medical waste and will suggest the option of vermiculture to the Pune Municipal Corporation. Sandhya Kulkarni, additional president of Pune District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum who presided over the seminar said 73 medico-legal cases were being heard by the court out of which 34 have been decided.


    'Implement norms to check noise pollution'

    THE HINDU [DECEMBER 16, 2002]
    By K. Manikanan

    CHENNAI DEC. 15 . It is close to midnight and a cone speaker tied to an EB post continues to belt songs at a very high pitch. It is clear indication that the Tamil month of Maargazhi has arrived, ringing in a divine atmosphere, but also alarming many residents that an increase in noise pollution is imminent.

    The focus has thus shifted towards the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board and the police to effectively implement the stipulated norms to keep the high decibel levels under check.

    Effective implementation, because, even the highest courts in the land have regretted the lack of it. In 1995, the Madras High Court directed the creation of a separate cell in the office of the Commissioner of Police and in the offices of every Superintendent of Police in the districts to register complaints of violation and that action should be taken immediately.

    At the City Commissioner's office, the response was that there was no special cell and complaints could be lodged at 100. The constable on duty at the helpline of a neighbouring district was not even aware of the requirement of a separate cell for noise pollution.

    Even the Supreme Court issued an order in August 2000, which regretted lack of awareness among citizens and implementation authorities, about the rules to keep noise pollution under check. It clearly said the menace of noise pollution was rampant and for some reason or the other, the various rules were not enforced. It said noise pollution led to mental stress and annoyance coupled with physical problems and even law and order problems.

    The court stated that ambient air quality standards in respect of noise should be 55 decibels in residential areas during the daytime (between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.) and 45 decibels in the night (between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.)

    Civic activists argued that the police were not equipped with the necessary instruments to measure decibel levels. While the Pollution Control Board had the instruments, it did not have the powers to deal with the offenders, something that could be done only by the police.

    The activists argued that noise above the permitted levels, irrespective of whether it was due to songs, political meetings or any other source should be kept under check and it could be ensured only when there is effective coordination between these two government agencies.



    Groundwater level dips at alarming rate


    HYDERABAD: The state is heading for a severe water crisis as the groundwater is depleting at an alarming rate due to over exploitation, exacerbated by the drought. Presently, about 80 per cent of rural drinking water supply and 42 per cent of irrigated agricultural requirements are met by groundwater alone.

    The groundwater level has fallen by 2.73 metres in 88 per cent wells monitored in the state and an alarming fall of more than four metres was observed in some districts of Rayalaseema and Telangana.

    Talking to The Times of India, groundwater department director B N Prasad said the comparison of water levels of November, 2002, and November, 2001, indicate a steep fall in water levels of more than four metres in some wells monitored in the districts of Prakasam, Chittoor, Cuddapah, Anantapur, Mahabubnagar, Medak, Nalgonda and Nizamabad.

    According to the study conducted by the groundwater department, the 118 ground water basins, which form about nine per cent of the state area, have been categorised as over exploited. The study also indicates 79 basins as critical and 192 as semi-critical, which also require attention for augmentation of groundwater resource for its sustainability.

    The drought has not only exacerbated the situation and but also affected the recharge of aquifers. The government's measures to combat the drought situation in rural and urban areas in the state by drilling bore wells would result in fast depletion of water tables, according to a senior official.

    Instead, the government should look for other resources for supplying water to city dwellers than its decision to survey in and around the Twin Cities to dig more bore wells.